26 June 2023

Christmas (in July) is here! Here are four of the best places to celebrate

| Travis Radford
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Group roasting marshmallows

The Raclette Igloo melted cheese experience will return as part of the Xmas in July Festival from Thursday, 29 June, to Sunday, 2 July. Photo: Supplied.

Have you always wanted to celebrate a white Christmas? There may not be any snow falling in the capital but it has been really, really, really cold.

But it’s not all bad news this July, with all the Christmas food, wine and festivities that don’t work in Australian summers coming to Canberra.

Capitol Bar & Grill, Canberra Southern Cross Club and Eastlake Football Club have prepared winter-warming holiday-themed feasts.

Plus, the Xmas in July Festival returns, bringing a French-inspired winter wonderland full of food, wine and entertainment.

Christmas in July poster

Enjoy a specially curated festive feast from the award-winning Capitol Bar & Grill. Image: QT Hotels.

Christmas in July at QT Lounge

When: Saturday 15 July, 7 pm to 10 pm
Where: QT Lounge, 1 London Circuit, Canberra
Cost: From $120 per person; book here.

Indulge in a festive feast from the award-winning Capitol Bar & Grill. After taking out the top gong at the Restaurant and Catering ACT Awards for Excellence in 2022, executive chef Michael Box and chef de cuisine Mel Hobby have invented a special mid-Winter menu featuring WA lobster with tarragon, Sydney rock oysters and fresh caviar, six-hour slow roasted prime rib with beef jus and more. And while you’re at it, why not pair the meal with a drop from the restaurant’s curated wine list featuring emerging producers and new grape varieties around Canberra and Australia?

Region’s John Coleman was impressed after dining out on Sydney rock oysters, Rottnest Island scallops, Tamworth sirloin, burrata and a curiously named ‘Canberra Mess’ dessert.

Eastlake Xmas in July graphic

All three Eastlake clubs at Calwell, Griffith and Gungahlin will celebrate Christmas in July with a two-course Christmas-themed menu. Photo: Eastlake Football Club.

Christmas in July at Eastlake Football Club

When: Wednesday 19 July dinner to Wednesday 26 July lunch
Where: Eastlake clubs, various locations, view locations here
Cost: $38 for a two-course menu; book here.

Live in Gungahlin, Griffith or Calwell? You’re in luck! Your local Eastlake club will be serving up a two-course Christmas-themed menu ($38 per person) for a limited time (it’s worth travelling to even if you’re ‘out of region’). Indulge in treacle-glazed leg ham and roasted turkey, served with steamed and roasted vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce and for dessert, a traditional plum pudding, complete with brandy custard and ice cream.

The man behind the menu is executive chef Anthony Craig, who told Region his biggest culinary influence is executive chef Michel Bourdain from The Connaught in London.

If the Christmas-themed menu isn’t up your alley, Anthony recommended the “just amazing” sea scallop and chorizo risotto, also available across all Eastlake venues.

melted cheese being poured on potatoes

Raclette is a popular dish in Switzerland and the French Alps and can be enjoyed at the Xmas in July Festival, alongside other festive European treats. Photo: Supplied.

Xmas in July Festival

When: Thursday 29 June to Sunday 2 July, various times
Where: National Rose Gardens, Parkes Place West, Parkes
Cost: Free entry; book paid activities here.

With something as joyful and spectacular as Christmas, why not have it twice?

Over four days, explore a French-inspired winter wonderland full of food, wine and live entertainment. Think authentic wood huts and chalets, twinkling fairy lights and Christmas trees, falling snow and fire pits with all-you-can-eat roasted marshmallows and steaming mugs of mulled wine. Or experience the Alps of France from the comfort of a transparent Raclette Igloo set beneath the stars. Guests will be supplied with bubbling pots of melted cheese, a selection of charcuterie, pickles and potatoes and, of course, mulled wine and giant marshmallows to roast over a cosy fire pit.

Canberra Southern Cross Club collage

Canberra institution, the Southern Cross Club, has some fresh and festive ideas up its sleeve this July. Photo: Canberra Southern Cross Club.

Canberra Southern Cross Club Christmas in July Feast

When: Friday 28 July, 6 pm to 8 pm
Where: Canberra Southern Cross Club Jamison, Corner Catchpole and Bowman Street, Macquarie
Cost: $74 per adult, $26 per child (3 to 12 years); book here.

The Canberra Southern Cross Club may have turned 50 in 2022, but its five licensed venues continue to serve fresh ideas.

In this spirit, the Jamison venue’s executive chef Jojy Vattoly has prepared a buffet dinner menu full of festive favourites for the Cornerstone Restaurant’s diners.

The buffet will include a cold display with festive terrine and pates and a salad bar with pasta, potato, mixed greens and other tasty options. At the heart of the Winter-warming feast is a traditional Christmas roast carvery selection, with double-smoked ham, turkey, pumpkin ravioli, chat potatoes, roasted vegetables and steamed greens, alongside a fresh seafood selection including salmon gravlax, prawns and Pambula rock oysters. And for dessert, a traditional gingerbread Christmas house, Christmas pudding, yule logs, mince pie, a fruit platter, tarts, slices and kids’ lollies.


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